Series: Texas Rascals (A clean and wholesome series) #5
Published by: Epiphany Orchards Press LLC
Release Date: March 8th, 2019
Genre: Latest Novels
Buy the Book: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo
Stranger on her doorstep!
Perpetual do-gooder July Johnson's latest cause was no straggly ally cat but six feet of pure male. And though the stranger was surely hiding secrets, something told July that beneath Tucker's gruff exterior was a soul longing to be loved.
Undercover lawman Tucker Haynes had chosen July's apartment as his hideout. But cozying up with the exasperating July had the cool cop seeing stars. For his feisty housemate had him dreaming of a future that could never be.
Tucker is the fifth installment in Lori Wilde's heartwarming series, Texas Rascals. Get your copy today.
Also in this series:
There he was again.
July Johnson peered out her second-story kitchen window at the scruffy fellow in a worn leather jacket lounging against her brick apartment building.
Underneath his black cowboy hat, shaggy dark hair six months past the point of needing a trim curled down his collar.
His faded jeans were threadbare; his shabby cowboy boots were caked with mud, and several days’ worth of beard growth ringed his jaw.
He’d been lurking around her small apartment complex in Rascal, Texas, for several days. She spotted him each morning when she woke up, then again before she went to bed at night.
July frowned. Perhaps she should call someone’s attention to the situation. Unfortunately, the apartment manager didn’t live on-site.
There was sweet Mrs. O’Brien who lived below her, but July didn’t want to alarm the elderly lady. And the Kirkwoods, a young married couple, occupied the apartment next to hers, but they both worked early-morning shifts as nurses at the hospital.
Running a hand through her short curls, July considered going downstairs and across the courtyard to knock on the new tenants’ door, but something about those two men bothered her.
The Stravanos brothers weren’t very approachable. They rarely returned her greetings and never smiled. Often, she’d seen them arguing. They kept late hours and entertained a parade of unsavory characters coming and going at odd times.
Come to think of it, maybe the lurking cowboy was a friend of theirs. He seemed their type—broody, dark, unpleasant. But why hang out in the alleyway? Was he homeless?
July stood on her tiptoes, planted both palms on the counter, and leaned forward for a closer look, her nose pressed flat against the windowpane. Despite his down-on-your-luck appearance, the man was undeniably gorgeous.
The way he carried himself intrigued her. He moved with the controlled grace of an athlete—fluid, confident, unflappable. Heck, he even slouched sexily.
The November wind gusted, swirling debris into the air. The man turned up his collar and his profile. Something about him put July in mind of her favorite country singer, Brad Paisley.
Her heart beat a little faster. Oh, come on, she couldn’t be attracted to him, for heaven’s sake. He was homeless, or worse…
July Desiree, you of all people should know you can’t make snap judgments. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.
The cowboy cast furtive glances around the alley, looking first left, then right. Finally, he ambled over to the dumpster that was wedged near the chain-link fence and disappeared from view.
Hmm, where had he gone?
Placing one knee on the kitchen counter and boosting herself up, she had to crane her neck at an odd angle to see him.
He looked around again, apparently satisfied no one was watching, then climbed into the dumpster and rummaged inside the garbage bin, giving July a glimpse of his butt.
My goodness. July gulped and laid a palm across her chest. What a glorious tushy.
He searched for several minutes. Finally, shaking his head, the man straightened, dusted his hands against the seat of his jeans, and climbed out of the dumpster.
What was he looking for? Was the poor cowboy so hungry, he’d been reduced to pillaging for discarded food?
Her heart wrenched, and her natural crusading instincts kicked into overdrive. Nothing captured July’s interest quicker than a worthy cause. And this guy had “cause” written all over him in neon letters.
Talk about a diamond in the rough. Despite his disheveled exterior, July saw something special shining through. Shave him, shower him, dress him in new clothing, and July would bet her last nickel he’d make a male version of Eliza Doolittle.
He raised his head and squinted up at her window.
Their eyes met.
Startled, July jumped, lost her balance, and tumbled forward into the sink. Her elbow smacked into the liquid soap dispenser and knocked it to the floor. One leg flailed wildly in the air. Her breast brushed against the water faucet, accidentally turning the handle.
“Oh, oh.” She gasped as cold water soaked the front of her sweater.
Teeth chattering, she shut off the faucet and climbed out of the stainless-steel sink. Muttering under her breath, she sopped up spilled soap, then stripped off her sweater and dropped it into the laundry basket outside the kitchen door.
Earlier, before she’d spotted the stranger, she’d been headed down to the laundry room to wash a load of clothes before starting her nine-to-five as a social worker at Hope Springs, an addiction treatment facility. Padding into the bedroom for a clean sweater, July kept thinking about the cowboy.
He had taken her by surprise, catching her watching him. Their gazes had fused, and whoosh, for one brief second, they’d forged an instant connection.
A connection so unexpected, it sent her head reeling. Even now, remembering his intense eyes, she felt slightly breathless.
“It’s the cold water, you ninny. That’s all. Snap out of it.”
So why did she hurry back to the kitchen and sidle over to the window again?
Curiosity, July assured herself. Nothing more. She wanted to know who this man was and why he was lurking in her alley.
Curiosity killed the cat, July.
If she had a dime for every time her family or friends had teased her with that phrase, she would be a wealthy woman.
“Satisfaction brought him back,” she said out loud, inching aside the yellow lace
curtains and peeking out.
The alley yawned empty.
The man had vanished.